Thursday, September 30, 2010
"Christianity did not bring a message of social revolution like that of the ill-fated Spartacus, whose struggle led to so much bloodshed. Jesus was not Spartacus, he was not engaged in a fight for political liberation like Barabbas or Bar- Kochba. Jesus, who himself died on the Cross, brought something totally different: an encounter with the Lord of all lords, an encounter with the living God and thus an encounter with a hope stronger than the sufferings of slavery, a hope which therefore transformed life and the world from within."
-Spe Salvi 4
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The Catholic Community Bible: Catholic Pastoral Edition (CCB) is a dynamic-equivalence translation from the Philippines. The CCB is something of a family of translations started by Fr. Bernardo Hurault for the people of the Third World. Much like la Bible de Jérusalem inspired the creation of the Jerusalem Bible, the CCB was born in Spanish as la Biblia Latinoaméricana. Currently there are similar translations into French, Chinese, Tagalog, Ilonggo, Cebuano (three languages spoken in the Philippines), and Bahasa (a language spoken in Indonesia and Malaysia). The English edition was first published around 1985.
The CCB translates the tetragrammaton as “Yahweh” consistently throughout the Old Testament, and seems to be mildly influenced by inclusive language. Paul writes to his “brothers and sisters”, but the first psalm is clearly about a man:
who does not go where the wicked gather,
or stand in the way of sinners,
or sit where the scoffers sit!
and meditates day and night
on his commandments.
producing its fruit in due season,
its leaves never withering.
Everything he does is a success.
Following the Septuagint, the CCB has “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14.
One of the things that I think that makes the CCB stand out is its footnotes and introductory essays. Each book begins with a topical discussion as well as the book’s relevance to modern life. Similarly footnotes both explain the text and reflect on the contemporary issues. Here is an excerpt from the footnote from Revelations chapter 18:
The CCB has somewhat reorganized the order of the books of the Old Testament. The introduction to my edition says they did this to divide the canon into groups of “Law”, “History”, and “Writings” similar to how they are grouped in the Masoretic Text. In practice this means that the CCB’s Old Testament is ordered following Jewish tradition. The CCB’s Wikipedia page has a helpful table that explains how this compares to the Catholic canon and the Jewish canon. Additionally, some verses and chapters (most notably in Esther) are reordered. This basically means that if you’re coming to this book familiar with other Bibles you’ll need to use the index to find your way around the Old Testament. This also causes problems going the other way, since anyone who’s only read the CCB will be totally lost in every other Bible. I still can’t find Psalms in the NAB, for instance (though from its reputation this may be for the best).
In addition to the text and notes the CCB has a list of the morning and evening psalmody of the four-week psalter (without antiphons). It also has a topical index in the front helping readers locate specific verses that discuss various Catholic doctrines, and a section that lines up the stories of the synoptic gospels. My edition of the CCB also has helpful aids on the side that show where each book is clearly marked. I’m not sure what these are called exactly, but they are very helpful when I’m looking for a particular passage (most dictionaries have these, for similar reasons). I assume this was put in so that the reader can find the books of the Old Testament easily, since they aren’t where they’re “supposed” to be. The CCB also has artwork that goes with each book, often depicting modern takes on each book’s theme. The picture that goes with Joshua has an African man walking into a city, and the First Letter of Saint Peter has a portrait of John Paul II looking pensively at the reader.
Monday, September 27, 2010
The NRSV is about to be available in a thinline edition, which I think may be for the first time ever for that translation. In mid-October, HarperOne will be publishing a thinline NRSV in editions with and without the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals. As mentioned on this blog on numerous occasions, I have always wanted a thinline Catholic Bible. So, needless to say, I am very excited about this release. As far as I know, there has never been an official thinline edition of the NRSV-CE, RSV-CE, NAB, JB, NJB, DR, CCB or any other English language Catholic translation. Am I wrong on this assertion?
As of today, these first two HarperOne editions with and without the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals, which are set to be released on October 19th, will be followed by a specifically Catholic edition in February. While I am planning on getting the edition with the Deuterocanonicals in October, I will also pick up the Catholic edition in February. But, why is there an almost four month wait for the Catholic edition? I am not sure. Will there be a difference, outside of the OT book order, between the Catholic edition and the ones set to be released in October? Hmm....
So, this leads to my question that I propose to you: If you could add one thing to the NRSV Catholic Thinline which is not included in the October releases what would it be? Let's not go with the old standby "crossreferences" since that seems too easy of a choice and something that most NRSV publishers seem unwilling to undertake.
To help you a bit, below are the features which are included in the October releases:
*Less than 1 inch thick
*The Apocryphal and Deuterocanonical books of Scripture
*Easy-to-read 9-point type in a double-column setting
*Bonded leather with craft-sewn binding for added strength and long life
*Fine Bible paper to maximize readability and portability
*Concordance for finding key verses
*Gilded edges and a ribbon marker
*Presentation page and maps
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
If you walk into a bookstore you will often see many different English Bible versions available for purchase. Often bookstore personnel are asked, “Which version should I purchase for _____?” In the blank would be a name of a category of Bible reader. What are some different categories (audiences) you can think of who read Bibles?
How would this be answered if you were buying for a Catholic friend of yours? Remember, while you may like something more literal or classic in style, like the Douay-Rheims, this may not be the best option for your friend.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
Yes, I have been gifted another sizable lot of Biblical commentaries. And yes, by the same friend I mentioned before who found them for 25 cents each at the local Seminary. And yes, thank you so very much!
This set includes:
25 Volumes from the Thomas Nelson World Bible Commentary
Kasemann's Commentary on Romans
Danker's Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study
Again, many thanks to my friend who continues to enhance my Biblical studies library. I think I will need to share in these recent additions, so stay tuned for a possible contest in the near future.
"Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter:
whoever finds one has found a treasure.
Faithful friends are beyond price;
no amount can balance their worth.
Faithful friends are life-saving medicine;
and those who fear the Lord will find them.”
-Sirach 6:14-16 NRSV
Thursday, September 2, 2010
"I, Paul, an old man,
and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus,
urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus,
whose father I have become in my imprisonment;
I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you.
I should have liked to retain him for myself,
so that he might serve me on your behalf
in my imprisonment for the gospel,
but I did not want to do anything without your consent,
so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary.
Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while,
that you might have him back forever,
no longer as a slave
but more than a slave, a brother,
beloved especially to me, but even more so to you,
as a man and in the Lord.
So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me."
-Philemon 9-10, 12-17 (NAB)
Anyone who has read St. Paul's letter to Philemon knows how wonderful it is. Sure, it can be easily missed, comprising barely one page in most Bibles, tucked between Titus and Hebrews. But even though it is Paul's shortest letter, it remains both charming and informative. In this letter we witness the love which Paul has for his spiritual brothers, Onesimus and Philemon. We also are able to read how Paul can be a master persuader, see 17-21.
However, I have one major problem with this Lectionary reading. I have no idea why those who put together the Sunday Lectionary did not include the entire letter. Length of the reading is certainly not an issue in this case. Don't get me wrong, I think the three year Sunday Lectionary was one of the best fruits of the Second Vatican Council, but every once in a while there are times when I wish they would have gone a little farther and included more of the sacred text in the reading.
In many ways, they have left off one of the best verses in the entire letter, verse 11:
"Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me." (NRSV).
Absent in this Sunday's reading is Paul's clever double pun on the name Onesimus, which means useful. Ah? Why?
In addition, they chopped off the end of the letter where Paul reminds Philemon that he owes him "even your own self. (19)" Paul shows both his brotherly love and his authority as pastor. It is a masterful, short letter by Paul, which should be read in it's entirety.